Unexpected Passions – Unleashing Potential: An Unschooling Conversation

This discussion appeared recently on the Christian Unschooling Facebook Group:

SARAH: Does anyone’s child have a passion that you never would have predicted?

My 7yo son LOVES chickens! He is the chicken whisperer I tell you! He makes pets out of them all, grieves when a young rooster has to go to the freezer, and he is the one who can get the eggs out from under the pecky hens without getting pecked. He and I read hatchery catalogs together and get excited about the new breeds that we want to try raising. We have plans to build a new coop this fall and he is looking into starting a business raising pheasants. We have talked about how that if we went to public school, some insecure kid might make fun of him for loving chickens but he never has to endure that kind of bullying. He can just like what he likes! It’s really a lot of fun, though, sharing a passion with your child.

JENNIFER: Yes my son has ADHD, but will sit for HOURS watching birds. I have encouraged him to looking to banding and other related things done with birds.

AADEL: Raven loves horses and drawing/painting. She will sit for hours just trying to perfect how she draws hooves on the horses. Lately it has been dragons and griffins she draws. She reads vet manuals about horses, and checks out horse anatomy books from the adult section at the library.

A love for all things horses has led to detailed art and interest in veterinary science.

HEATHER: My 10yo (almost 11 ack!) loves spices and herbs and herbalism and wild crafting salves and drying herbs with me.

JENNIFER: My son’s favorite is the hummingbird.. maybe because they are hyper like him. lol

SARAH: Jessica, I wonder if he would be interested in raising birds, small scale? Parakeets are easy to breed.

JENNIFER: I have cats, Sarah.. otherwise I would. I have a bird feeder station just outside his window… and hummer feeders and water bath on the ol’ play yard 🙂 easier to clean too.

STEPHANIE: Human anatomy. My 5yo cuddles up to sleep each night with stuffed lungs LOL.

MONICA: Japanese pop songs for my teen.

NANCY: My 11yo started doing stop action videos and other animations on youtube. He started when we were in a hotel for two months this winter, we went out of town with my husband for his job.


ANNETTE: My 13yo son is writing a zombie comic book… Gee, thanks, Dad… He used to do stop-animation with his Legos, and then we had that computer crash… he was devastated (this kid “cycles” through obsessions – right now it is zombies, Legos (this passion has stayed since he was about 2 or 3 years old), and Nerf gun dart tag! 🙁 10yo son LOVES animals of all kinds, and ANYTHING having to do with them (it is a total obsession – since he was 2 years old)! Daughter 16 is totally into writing and artwork – almost all of her artwork having to do with making models with Sculpey clay, or drawing the characters from her stories (it too is an obsession – for about 5 years now)!

Taking apart a pair of clippers – deconstructing electronics is definitely a passion!

BECKY: If our kids were in school we wouldn’t know these wonderful things about them and would probably force them into something else. God has blessed us all with this calling and gift of being around our children all the time.

JENNIFER C: My 4yo is crazy about shapes! He sees them everywhere. He constantly points them out to us. He told me the other day that he saw a pentagon and a trapezoid! It was a good thing that I knew what a pentagon was ’cause I had to, through the process of elimination figure that one out! All the others have gone through spurts of interest. I do see and hear an emerging obsession with the piano. Hubby and I were discussing getting a piano instructor to come to our home (I can play but I don’t teach). The 8-year-old told me today that she doesn’t want a piano teacher to tell her what to do. She wants to teach herself. Then when dad got home this afternoon she played a piece she’s been composing for us! How stinking awesome is that? 🙂

JESSIE: My daughter is a computer geek and a gamer girl… and loves science … MY girl, the only girl – but she also loves Jane Austen and Regency Era dancing and reenacting historical events… so it’s ok – but you should see her computer geek daddy LIGHT up when she starts chatting about some computer game or something – hilarious!

LYANNA: My 5yo son loves weather and 8yo son loves all things ancient history and mythology. 11yo daughter has figured out how to harmonize with almost any song she hears. LOVE how these things have developed in my kiddos because they are encouraged to pursue what they love!!

A model of the International Space Station that Jennifer’s boy built in Minecraft.


ELIZABETH: My youngest has so many interests that I can’t keep up, but I would have to say fashion design is her passion. It’s the one thing she’s always working on, regardless of the current interest. My 18yo daughter’s passion is basketball and has been forever. She had to sit out a year due to illness and it was devastating. I asked my 20yo son and he says his passion is lemonade. I’d say it’s more along the lines of gaming – Halo, Saint’s Row, Call of Duty. When he was younger it was building – mostly with Legos.

Oops! I didn’t really answer the question… I definitely would never have predicted that my 18yo would be so wrapped up in a sport nor that my 14yo would be so absorbed by fashion. The 18yo was a princess when she was little, very girly. My 14yo was (is?) a poster child tomboy. It’s like their passions should be switched. :p

SARAHWow! Our kids are all so amazing! Just think what kind of potential could be unleashed if more parents understood unschooling!

T S: My youngest (6) watches hours and hours of YouTube videos on toy reviews. He also spends hours using clay with his action figures to craft new and interesting weapons and armor for his guys. It’s amazing what the videos have done for his vocabulary – last year, he brought me a new action figure and said, “Did you notice the articulation?” as he moved the guy’s leg and feet around. He’ll also describe the amount of detailing in the character’s design, tell you whether or not the head will “do a full 360,” and knows what ball joints are. Although he’s never played some games (Uncharted 3, Duke Nukem) because we don’t have the systems, he watches walkthrough videos on them as well. And he’s recently started watching Minecraft videos, so once my laptop is repaired, I’ll be purchasing Minecraft so he can start on that (he’s already done Roblox and a TON of other online games).

JANELLE: My boys (8 and 6) are obsessed with drawing, acting, and Legos. They have even created their own fantasy world using their favorite lovies and other stuffed animals. Each character has his or her own unique personality. They have made stories and movie plots revolving around the characters. They definitely have the creative bug!

JOAN: I’d say besides all things animal, which was my daughter’s “before” and continuing passion, the surprise one was the Titanic. She is all but a college research-level scholar on the stinkin’ thing and theories, legends and explorations surrounding it. And then there’s Legos. Oddly enough she has not yet combined the two!

JESSIE: My 15yo daughter has spent her day drawing Regency Era dresses and playing with colors. She wants to design and make her own dress for the next ball!

All dolled up and ready for the Netherfield Ball.

SARAH: I also wanted to mention my other children and their passions. One of my twins (5) LOVES to draw! He draws to wind down after a busy day, after we read about something or watch something he wants to draw it, etc. He draws such cute whimsical animals and characters and I would be so sad if he was ever told what to draw or how to draw or to color in any lines. Or if he was told he couldn’t draw at any certain time! I love the freedom he has. His twin loves to build! He makes wonderful things out of Legos, Megablocks, and other types of blocks. The things he makes have pattern and symmetry and I’m also glad for him that he is never told what to build or how to build. All three of the big boys LOVE to make up stories. They walk outside, together or alone, and make up stories to tell to the animals or sometimes they make up stories together with their toys. I can just imagine that giving them a piece of paper and a “story starter” would ruin that passion or even making them write stories on paper at all! Did I mention that I love their freedom? 🙂 My 2yo loves tractors and trucks and anything that he can attach a toy trailer to. But, believe it or not, he also LOVES cows! We have dairy cows and he loves to feed them, pet them, etc.! Their size does not scare him at all! Well, I could go on but those are their main passions right now.

KIM: Oldest daughter loves designing charms with polymer clay. Whimsical to serious, she loves to craft beautiful charms. Son is into architecture big-time. Youngest daughter likes social time with friends.


[Editor’s note: These posts have been slightly edited for publication. Brief side comments that did not add to the discussion were removed; shortened words and abbreviations were expanded for clarity (such as US for unschooling or DD for dear daughter), and names may have been changed at the original poster’s request.]

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